The master’s specialisation Philosophy of Natural Sciences at Leiden University covers ontological, epistemological and methodological issues arising from the natural sciences.
Ontological issues pertain to the ultimate constitution of the world studied by natural scientists. What sorts of objects are acknowledged by the natural sciences? How are these objects defined and identified? In what senses can they be said to be real?
Epistemological issues pertain to the nature and limits of our knowledge of the natural world. How are concepts related to the world? What is the status of theoretical entities? What is the difference between observation and experiment?
Lastly, methodological issues pertain to the practice and dynamics of research in the natural sciences, including the interpretation of empirical data, theory formulation, and hypothesis test. A particular focus is the diversity of the natural sciences, which range from law formulating sciences such as physics to historical sciences such as earth science. A selection of these topics are chosen for discussion each academic year.